Cost of oil raises asphalt concerns

Monday, October 27, 2008

From a story by Darryl Enriquez in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

In his 30 years as a Waukesha city planner and community developer, Steve Crandell says he has never seen the price of asphalt exceed the cost of concrete, a turn of events that forced the city to resort to extra borrowing this month.

Throughout the Milwaukee area, municipal officials are bracing for a continued upward swing in asphalt prices that threatens to create potholes in already tight road budgets.

Those soaring costs were blamed for adding about $1.4 million of the $2 million in unanticipated borrowing costs to complete roads and other work for the new Shoppes at Fox River, a shopping center project in western Waukesha, Crandell said.

Oil is a major ingredient in asphalt. Even though oil costs have come down recently, the price reduction has not trickled down to the asphalt industry, said Jim Purko, operations director for the Milwaukee Department of Public Works.

"The cost of raw materials and the cost of transportation are certainly driving up the cost of road projects here," Purko said.